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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Marius Goring

Goring as Julian Craster in The Red Shoes (1948)
Marius Re Goring

(1912-05-23)23 May 1912
Died30 September 1998(1998-09-30) (aged 86)
Years active1926–1990
Mary Westwood Steel
(m. 1931; div. 1941)

(m. 1941; died 1976)

(m. 1977)
RelativesCharles Buckman Goring (father)

Marius Re Goring, CBE FRSL (23 May 1912 – 30 September 1998) was a English stage and screen actor.[1] He is best remembered for the four films he made with Powell & Pressburger, particularly as Conductor 71 in A Matter of Life and Death and as Julian Craster in The Red Shoes.[2] He is also known for playing the title role in the long-running TV drama series, The Expert.[3] He regularly performed French and German roles, and was frequently cast in the latter because of his name, coupled with his red-gold hair and blue eyes. However, in a 1965 interview, he explained that he was not of German descent, stating that "Goring is a completely English name."

Life and career

Goring was born in Newport, Isle of Wight, the son of the eminent physician and researcher Dr Charles Buckman Goring (1870-1919), the author of The English Convict, and Kate Winifred (née Macdonald, 1874–1964), a professional pianist of Scottish descent who was also a suffragette.[4] He had an older brother, Donald, who died in Yemen, in 1936, from injuries sustained in a motor vehicle accident. After attending The Perse School in Cambridge, where he became a friend of an older boy, the future documentary film maker Humphrey Jennings, Goring studied modern languages at the universities of Frankfurt, Munich, Vienna and Paris.[5][6] Encouraged by both of his parents to pursue his acting ambitions, he made his professional debut in 1927 playing Harlequin, and toured the continent playing classical roles with the Compagnie des Quinze. He toured under the directorship of Michel Saint-Denis, whom he would later encourage to come to England and work as a director.[6] He also studied under Harcourt Williams and at the Old Vic dramatic school from 1929 to 1932. His early stage career included appearances at the Old Vic, Sadler's Wells, Stratford and several European tours; he was fluent in French and German. During the 1930s, he played a variety of Shakespearean roles at the Old Vic, including the title role in Macbeth and Romeo in Romeo and Juliet (1933), Feste in Twelfth Night (1937), in addition to Trip in Sheridan's The School for Scandal. He first worked in the West End in a 1934 revival of Granville-Barker's The Voysey Inheritance at the Shaftesbury Theatre.

In 1929, he became a founding member of British Equity, the actors' union, served on its council from 1949 and was three times its vice-president from 1963 to 1965, 1975 to 1977 and again from 1980 to 1982.[4] Goring's relationship with his union was fraught with conflict: he took it to litigation on three occasions. In 1978, regarding the issue of the supremacy of a referendum to decide Equity rules, he took it as far as the House of Lords and won his case. In 1992, he unsuccessfully sought to end the restriction on the sale of radio and television programmes to apartheid South Africa.[6] Stressing that he opposed apartheid and would not perform for segregated audiences, he argued that the ban was depriving actors of work, and stated that he wished to stage a production of the play She Stoops to Conquer with an all-black cast. This particular litigation nearly bankrupted him, due to the heavy amount of court costs.

In November 1931, at the age of nineteen, he married twenty-nine year old Mary Westwood Steel (1902-1994) at Gretna Green, Scotland (they had a second marriage ceremony in a London register office in February 1932) and their only child, a daughter Phyllida Mariette Goring, was born in March 1932 and died in 2018. The marriage did not succeed and he became engaged in 1935 to ballet choreographer and designer, Susan 'Susy' Salaman, older sister of Merula Salaman, wife of Alec Guinness. Susy contracted acute encephalitis in late 1935 and was left brain-damaged. Goring wanted to go ahead with the wedding but Susy's father, Michel Salaman, would not allow it.[7]

In 1935, he co-founded the London Theatre Studio with Michel Saint-Denis, George Devine and Glen Byam Shaw. It trained actors, directors and designers and was a precursor of the Old Vic Theatre School. Marius taught Shakespeare there to the students. It had to close in late 1939 due to the outbreak of war.

Goring (left) played the part of Conductor 71 with David Niven as Peter Carter in A Matter of Life and Death.
Goring (left) played the part of Conductor 71 with David Niven as Peter Carter in A Matter of Life and Death.

Goring's film career began with an uncredited role in The Amateur Gentleman (1936) with Douglas Fairbanks Jr and a small speaking role in Rembrandt (also 1936). He shared his one scene in this film with the star Charles Laughton, with whom he had previously worked on stage at the Old Vic. He made two further films released in 1939: Flying Fifty-Five with Derrick de Marney where he showed off his comedic skills playing an amusing drunkard and co-starred with Conrad Veidt in his first Powell and Pressburger film, The Spy in Black, an intriguing spy thriller set during World War One, where he played a German officer for the first of many times in his film career.

When war was declared in September 1939, he was back in the West End as Pip in a production of Great Expectations, adapted for the stage by Alec Guinness. Along with all other plays, it was closed down temporarily by the war but was the first to resume when theatres were reopened in early 1940. He joined the British Army in June 1940, and was seconded in 1941 to the BBC as supervisor of radio productions broadcasting to Germany. He made broadcasts under the name Charles Richardson (using his father's first name and maternal grandmother's maiden name), because of the association of his name with Hermann Göring. In 1944 he became a member of the intelligence staff of SHAEF (Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force) where he attained the rank of colonel. Because of the broadcasts he had been making to Germany, set up by the Foreign Office as an antidote to William Joyce (Lord Haw-Haw), he was put on a Nazi hit-list.

In 1941, he married his second wife, the German actress Lucie Mannheim (1899-1976). Mannheim, who was Jewish, had been a principal actress in the Berlin Theatre but had to leave Germany when the Nazis came to power. She worked with Goring in many stage productions from the 1930s onwards and in seven episodes of The Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel, one of which he wrote especially for her, as well as in several films. Mannheim died in 1976, and the next year Goring married television director/producer Prudence Fitzgerald (1930-2018), who had directed him in many episodes of The Expert.

In the film A Matter of Life and Death (1946) Goring played Conductor 71, whose role is to 'conduct' Peter Carter (David Niven) to the afterlife. In the film The Red Shoes, he played Julian Craster, a young composer who wins the heart of ballerina Vicky Page (Moira Shearer) and clashes with the imperious ballet impresario, Boris Lermontov (Anton Walbrook). In the film Odette released in the UK in 1950, Goring played the role of Colonel Henri, a German Abwehr (Military Intelligence) officer who deceived and captured Odette. The film is based on the true story of Odette Sansom, the first living woman to be awarded the George Cross. The real Odette Sansom was later a witness at his marriage to Prudence Fitzgerald in 1977. He played Colonel Günther von Hohensee in So Little Time (1952), which also featured Maria Schell, one of his rare romantic leads and frequent roles playing a German officer. He considered the film one of his favourites, alongside the four films he made with Powell and Pressburger.

His TV work included starring as Sir Percy Blakeney in The Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel (ITV, 1955) (a role which he also performed in a 1952-53 radio show), a series which he also co-wrote and produced; Theodore Maxtible in the Doctor Who story The Evil of the Daleks (BBC, 1967); Professor John Hardy in The Expert (BBC, 1968–1976); Paul von Hindenburg in Fall of Eagles (BBC, 1974); King George V in Edward & Mrs. Simpson (Thames, 1980) and Emile Englander in The Old Men at the Zoo (BBC, 1983).

Goring's voice provides the narration of the sound and light show performed regularly in the evening at the Blue Mosque in Istanbul, Turkey.

He was made a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature in 1979 and appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 1991. He died from stomach cancer in 1998 aged 86 at his home in Rushlake Green, East Sussex, survived by his third wife, Prudence and daughter, Phyllida. He is buried in the churchyard of St Mary the Virgin, Warbleton, East Sussex near Rushlake Green with his wife, Prudence, who died in 2018.

Complete filmography

* Powell and Pressburger productions

Television appearances

  • The Bear (1938 short film): Grigory Stepanovitch Smirnov, a landowner with Lucie Mannheim
  • Box for One (1949 short film): The Caller
  • On the Harmful Effects of Tobacco (1952 BBC TV): Ivan Ivanovich Nyukhin
  • You Are There (series) (1953–1972 CBS TV series): Oliver Cromwell in ‘The Trial of Charles the First’ (1954)
  • Douglas Fairbanks Presents (1953–57 NBC TV series): Nicol Pascal in ‘The Rehearsal’ (1954)
  • Lilli Palmer Theatre (1955–56 ITC/NBC TV series): Reinhardt in ‘Mossbach Collection’ (1955) and Major Edward Carter in ‘Episode in Paris’ (1956)
  • The Adventures of the Scarlet Pimpernel (1955–56 ITC TV series): Sir Percy Blakeney/The Scarlet Pimpernel in eighteen episodes with Lucie Mannheim in seven episodes
  • Many Mansions (1957 BBC TV short): Lester Hockley
  • BBC Sunday Night Theatre (1950–59 BBC TV series): Tommy Savidge in ‘Promise of Tomorrow’ (1950); Chorus in ‘The Life of Henry V’ (1951); Hjalmar Ekdal in ‘The Wild Duck’ (1952); General Harras in ‘The Devil’s General’ (1955); Dr Cranmer in ‘The White Falcon’ (1956); Crystof Walters in ‘The Cold Light’ (1956); Robert Clive in ‘Clive of India’ (1956) and Richard Brinsley Sheridan in ‘The Lass of Richmond Hill’ (1957)
  • International Detective (1959–61 ABPC TV series): Ferdie Steibel in ‘The Steibel Case’ (1960)
  • BBC Sunday-Night Play (1960–63 BBC TV series): Alexis Turbin in ‘The White Guard’ (1960); General Harras in ‘The Devil’s General’ (1960); Laye-Parker in ‘A Call on Kuprin (1961) and John Lock in ‘The Money Machine’ (1962)
  • Drama 61-67 (1961–67 ATV TV series): Captain in ‘The Cruel Day’ (1961) and Mervyn in ‘Room for Justice’ (1962)
  • 24-Hour Call (1963 ATV TV series): Sam Bullivant in ‘Love for Caroline’
  • First Night (1963–64 BBC TV series): Grieve Wishart in ‘The Youngest Profession’ (1963)
  • Maigret (1960–63 BBC TV series): Peter the Lett in ‘Peter the Lett’ (1963)
  • The Third Man (1959–65 BBC TV series): Colonel Dimonella in ‘A Question in Ice’ (1964)
  • Love Story (1963–74 ATV TV series): Robert Langley in ‘In Loving Memory’ (1964)
  • The Great War (1964 BBC/ABC/CBC TV documentary series): Various voices in twenty-six episodes
  • The Mask of Janus (1965 BBC TV series): Dr Kapaka in ‘Why Not Call Me Kruschev?’
  • Thirteen Against Fate (1966 BBC TV series): Monsieur Hire in ‘The Suspect’
  • Out of the Unknown (1966–71 BBC TV series): Wattari in ‘Too Many Cooks’ (1966)
  • ITV Play of the Week (1955–74 ITV TV series): John Hagerman in ‘The Breath of Fools’ (1957); Purcell in ‘The Darkness Outside’ (1960); Charles Norbury in ‘The Sound of Murder’ (1964), Lewis Eliot in ‘The New Men’ (1966) and Robert Cosgrove in ‘On the Island’ (1967)
  • The Revenue Men (1967–68 BBC TV series): Kersten in ‘The Traders’ (1967)
  • Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (1967 BBC TV series): Lord Linchmere in ‘The Beetle Hunter’
  • Doctor Who (1963–? BBC TV Series): Theodore Maxtible in The Evil of the Daleks (six episodes in 1967)
  • The Wednesday Play (1964–1970 BBC TV series): Reverend Harrup in ‘A Walk in the Sea’ (1966) and Sir Hubert in ‘Sleeping Dogs’ (1967)
  • Man in a Suitcase (1967–68 ITC TV series): Henri Thibaud in ‘Blind Spot’ (1968)
  • Le dossiers de l’agence O (1968 COFERC/ORTF TV Series): Madame Sacramento in ‘Le club des vieilles dames’ (French TV series)
  • Thirty-Minute Theatre (1965–73 BBC TV series): Mr Ponge in ‘Mr Ponge’ (1965) and The Interrogator in ‘The Year of the Crow’ (1970)
  • The Expert (1968–76 BBC TV series): Professor John Hardy in sixty-two episodes
  • Fall of Eagles (1974 BBC TV mini-series): Von Hindenburg in ‘The Secret War’ and ‘End Game’
  • 2nd House (1973–76 BBC TV series): Humboldt in ‘Saul Bellow’ (1975)
  • Wilde Alliance (1978 ITV TV Series): Rex in ‘Things That Go Bump’
  • Holocaust (1978 CBS TV mini-series): Heinrich Palitz in Part One
  • Edward & Mrs. Simpson (1979 ITV TV mini-series): King George V in ‘Venus at the Prow’ and ‘The Little Prince’
  • House of Caradus (1979 Granada TV series): Bronksy in ‘The Girl in the Blue Dress’
  • Tales of the Unexpected (1979–88 Anglia TV series): Dr John Landy in ‘William and Mary’ (1979)
  • Hammer House of Horror (1980 ITC TV series): Heinz in ‘Charlie Boy’
  • Levkas Man (1981 ABC Australia TV series): Dr Pieter Gerrard in six episodes
  • The Year of the French (TV serial) (1982 RTE/Channel 4/FR3 France 6 part series): Lord Glenthorne in Episode One
  • The Old Men at the Zoo (1983 BBC TV series): Emile Englander in five episodes
  • Hammer House of Mystery and Suspense (1984–85 ITV TV series): Angus Aragon in ‘The Late Nancy Irving’ (1984)
  • Gnostics (1987 Channel 4 TV series): Episode 3: Divinity of Man: Hermes Trismegistus & Prospero (1987)

Stage appearances


  1. ^ "Marius Goring". BFI.
  2. ^ "BFI Screenonline: Goring, Marius (1912-1998) Biography".
  3. ^ Elizabethan. 1968. p. 52.
  4. ^ a b "Goring, Marius (1912–1998)". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/71059. (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)
  5. ^ GORING, Marius, Who Was Who, A & C Black, 1920–2015; online edn, Oxford University Press, 2014
  6. ^ a b c Tom Vallence Obituary: Marius Goring, The Independent, 2 October 1998
  7. ^ Alec Guinness: The Authorised Biography by Piers Paul Read. Simon & Schuster, 2005. 21 June 2005. ISBN 9780743244985.

External links

This page was last edited on 4 March 2023, at 23:36
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